Reem Mansour is returning for her second year as a member of the Transformation Team. Reem is a Palestinian-Jordanian who grew up in Kuwait. She recently completed her master’s degree in English Language and Translation at Middle East University. She also holds BA in Translation from Applied Science University. During her masters studies she explored the origins and the roots of family and tribal names. Originally raised in Kuwait, Reem is passionate about improving the educational system in the Middle East.
George Kadifa is a born, raised, and educated Californian whose mother is from the Midwest and whose father immigrated to the US during the Lebanese civil war. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Economy. Most recently he worked as a consultant in Dubai with Booz & Co., and is making a dramatic shift to live out his values by joining the Transformation Team. His interest in education stems from his many inspiring teachers and professors and he hopes to bring that same experience to his students. George plans eventually to return to the US and attend law school.
Michel Samawi is a Jordanian anthropologist, who grew up in Irbid, then lived in several countries including Oman, the United States, and Switzerland; where he pursued his higher education. While doing his masters in Anthropology and Sociology of Development from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, his focus was on Arab youth, phenomenological anthropology, and the anthropology of art and social movements. Driven by his passion for taking action and being immersed in the "field,” Michel has returned to his home country in order to be part of the current transformations happening region-wide.
Angela Haddad graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor with a double degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies and French and Francophone Studies. She also holds a minor in Political Science with a focus on identity formation through language. Aside from writing short stories, Angela enjoys traveling in the US, where she grew up, as well as internationally, to learn more about the different cultures and people who, though divided by borders, live alongside each other in more ways than one.
Farah Al Taji grew up in Jordan and completed her undergraduate degree in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Jordan. Farah also received her Master of Science in Engineering Management degree from Brunel University in United Kingdom. She broadened her managerial knowledge and skills and also conducted research in her MSc, while studying the relationship between emotional intelligence and successful leadership within an academic institution. Farah has volunteered with the Arab Innovation Network for two years. She hopes to do a PhD in social innovation, a growing area of interest.
Ahmed Ajil holds a BA in International Relations from the Universities of Geneva and Alicante and is completing his MA in Applied Security Strategy at the University of Exeter with a dissertation on the European Foreign Fighters issue. Originally from Iraq, he grew up with his family in Switzerland then spent time abroad in Spain and the UK. A passionate polyglot, he enjoys learning new languages and immersing in different cultures. In Switzerland, he is the owner of a company that operates in the sports segment and has extensive experience as a sports teacher.
Maria Zabaneh was born and raised in Jordan and holds a B.Sc. in International Business from the University of North Carolina where she graduated summa cum laude. As an undergrad, Maria was a TA for a class on Global Strategy, a course for which she helped design the curriculum. She wrote two senior theses, one focused on the treatment of migrant workers in Dubai, and the other on the economic underpinnings of the Arab Spring. She also led a student group that raises awareness about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Maria hopes to pursue a master’s degree in International Law and Development in the near future.
Jameyla Kiswane is a Palestinian-American popular education practitioner, specializing in critical pedagogy. She is the former Executive Producer of Palestine’s Freedom Theatre, where she created and implemented an institutional capacity building action plan and organizational strategic plan. She also worked closely with local staff in a mentorship role to improve efficiency, communications, and job performance. Jameyla is also a founding partner of the Performing Arts Network, Palestine, the first registered network of cultural institutions in Palestine. Before moving to the Arab world, she spent several years in youth development working as a facilitator at organizations such as the Jamestown Community Center, The Arab Resource Organizing Center of San Francisco, and Girls, Inc. She holds a B.A. in Popular Theatre & Education from San Francisco State University.